Artprice: outlook for 2015
Following publication of Artprice's 2014 AGM minutes on Actusnews, we have received shareholder and market requests for additional information this December regarding our outlook for the year 2015.
The Artprice Group confirms it plans to launch its 100%-owned subsidiary Artprice Inc. under the new name Artmarket.com on the Nasdaq (NSCM), or any other Anglo-Saxon market where online art auctions are governed by a coherent set of regulations vis-à-vis the digital economy.
In France (see pdf document and public statements), the Council of Voluntary Sales (CVV) has been doing everything possible for three years to block the development of this activity, particularly at Artprice and Ebay, by creating legal barriers, despite the European Directive ending the public auction monopoly that has existed since 1556. The CVV's stance towards Artprice, with recurrent public statements such as "the internet giants Artprice and Ebay have created confusion among consumers" is a real brake on the growth of the digital economy.
These prohibitions to the free practice of art auctions on the Internet are beyond comprehension for a country like France, which now accounts for less than 4% of the global art market and less than 2% of the Contemporary art segment of that market.
Artprice's Global Art Market Annual Report (180 pages, to be published on February 26, 2015 exclusively via AFP, and then on March 3, 2015 on the websites of Artprice and its powerful institutional partner Artron in China) unfortunately confirms the continual decline of France share of the global art market since 1970, while the art market has been booming on all continents of the world
Here is a brief excerpt from AFP Monde's communiqué regarding Artprice's 2014 semi-annual Art Market report:
"The global art market is in insolently good health"
On Wednesday, Artprice communicated the following information exclusively to the AFP: Having posted a 17% increase in turnover for the first half of 2014, exceeding $7 billion – a record high for the period – the global art market is in insolently good health.
According to the half-year figures communicated by the global leader in art market information, the French company Artprice, for the first six months of 2014, global art auction turnover, excluding fees, totaled 7.15 billion dollars (5.22 billion euros) compared with 6.11 billion dollars (4.66 billion euros) for the first half of 2013.
Founder and CEO of Artprice.com, Thierry Ehrmann, sums it up as follows, the The art market is hungry… we have grown from 500,000 collectors after WWII to nearly 70 million today, a figure that includes professional and amateur collectors and enthusiasts at all levels.
The number of museums and art centers, both public and private, is rocketing, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and to a lesser extent in South America, the Near and Middle East, says Ehrmann. This museum industry needs works to fill its walls and spaces.
Moreover, in a context of high financial volatility, art works are an attractive investment for institutional investors, fund managers and individuals. It's a market that is becoming increasingly mature and increasingly liquid, offering yields of 10% to 15% per year for works above 100,000 euros," he says.
In the first half of 2014, the United States led the way with auctions of Fine Art (paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints) totaling $2.38 billion (EUR 1.73 billion), up 28% on the year earlier period. Their global market share reached 33.4%.
China was second with sales of $1.97 billion (EUR 1.44 bn) having posted slower growth of 6.9%. Its global market share amounted to 27.7%. The UK was dynamic with sales of $ 1.8 billion (EUR1.32 bn), up more than 25% with a global market share of 25.2%.
The art market is increasingly focused on these three countries that accounted for 86% of global art auction turnover in the first half of 2014. Far behind… France retains fourth place with sales of $284 million (EUR 207.8 million) and a market share of 3.98%.
According to Mr. Ehrmann, The excellent health of the art market is expected to continue throughout 2014 barring a major geopolitical event. Already, Artprice's leading indicators for the art market are predicting dynamic art sales growth in the United States for the second half of the year.
In China, the major sales traditionally take place in the second half. But this year says Ehrmann, there is a strong dampener from a series of anti-corruption measures introduced by President Xi Jinping. Auction sales are now highly regulated, and now require immediate settlement as well as prior evidence of the financial means to pay for works. In 2013, Thierry Ehrmann established an alliance with the Chinese conglomerate, Artron.
In 2014, the United States may even regain the number 1 position on the global art market said Mr. Ehrmann. Whatever the result, it will be close. In 2013, China was top of the market for the fourth consecutive year; but only just ahead of the United States.
Listed in Paris, Artprice.com plans to list its subsidiary Artmarket.com on the Nasdaq. The company hopes to launch its online art auction business in 2015 in the United States.
- End of quote from AFP communiqué -
The Artprice Group, which will remain headquartered in France and listed on the Paris stock exchange, will therefore use its American subsidiary Arprice Inc. USA (formerly Sound View Press, founded in 1976), renamed Artmarket.com (its carefully protected predestined domain name) as the basis for its new online auction activity.
Artprice wishes to re-iterate that this development (the listing of Artmarket.com) will have no dilutive impact on existing Artprice shareholders, who should logically benefit from the operation.
In the context of this extremely rigorous IPO project, Artmarket.com's target – depending on stock market, art market and global economic conditions at the time – would be to raise a low estimate of between USD 90 and 120 million, on about 30% of the capital, with the remaining 70% remaining in the hands of the Artprice group.
The combined value of the two capitals (freefloat plus own-shares) will therefore be less than that of Artprice's market value in January 2012, the launch date of Artprice's Standardized Online Auction Marketplace activity that was interrupted by the CVV's erroneous press release (see PDF). It therefore projects a very prudent vision of the operation's potential.
In January 2012, when Artprice launched its Standardized Online Auction Marketplace, its share averaged EUR 52.68 over 31 days with a monthly traded volume of 6 802,548 on the NYSE Euronext exchange before the disastrous intervention of the CVV (see above).
On Google, in response to a search using “Art Market”, the Domain Name Serveur (DNS) Artmarket.com (acquired and actively protected by Artprice) arrives systematically in first position out of a total of 450 million results. This visibility is obviously a tremendous advantage for its new Standardized Marketplace. Artprice has also owned and actively protected Artmarket.org (news agency), Artmarket.net and Art-market.com for over 14 years. Likewise in Europe, with Artmarket.eu.
Artmarket.com will therefore own the IT infrastructure for its Standardized Online Auction & Fixed-price Marketplace activities, in exchange for shares attributed to the parent company Artprice.
Clearly, the valuation approach and methods used in the United States vis-à-vis the digital economy are completely different, particularly for companies like Artprice, considered by Anglo-American investors as the "disruptor" of the art market, just as Airbnb and Uber are for their respective markets.
Artprice will also retain full ownership of its historical client base and its multiple banks of standardized art market data (protected under intellectual property rights) and will make these assets available to Artmarket.com in exchange for an annual commission.
In the framework of this project, the fees and royalties paid by Artmarket.com for the support provided by Artprice, world leader in Art Market information, will be governed by a set of regulated contracts and agreements. This support will include access to the experience and knowledge accumulated by Artprice's Standardized Fixed-price Marketplace since it started operations in 2004. This activity has posted undeniable growth year after year and its full potential should have been liberated by the European Directive on auctions that was transcribed into French law in 2012.
The creation of Artmarket.com will therefore close the chapter of the CVV's deliberate campaign against Artprice (as part of its overall drive to block the development of online art auctions) and of the subsequent prejudice to Artprice's business (see pdf). Artmarket.com will operate under Anglo-Saxon law where online art auctions are a fast growing business. Meanwhile, the word “enchère” (auction) is now banned on the Internet in France, despite the apparent reform in March 2014.
The growth in online art auctions has been confirmed beyond any doubt by numerous independent studies and also by the major players in the old economy itself. In interviews, the President of Christie's World and the CEO of Sotheby's have both confirmed that the middle market (works valued up to $12,000) is destined to switch to online marketplaces. As regards Internet services, Anglo-Saxon markets recognize that Artprice has a considerable lead over Christie's and Sotheby's and are willing to value this lead.
The future website of Artprice will include new methods of payment including the kiosk system. In this system Artprice will place its databanks at the heart of the 4G, 4G+ and LTE (Long Term Evolution) operators without any risk of third party piracy. Of course, 4G, 4G+ and LTE kiosks in the USA and Asia represent a significant source of growth for Artprice in the longer term (via the payment system used by Apple iTunes for example), especially with the ongoing consolidation of the Telecoms sector.
Artprice: + 37% increase in traffic on new Mobile First services to all its database products; transfer of the route servers to the USA in with American IP addresses.
Artprice confirms that, having successfully transferred its route servers to one of the main secure data centers in Virginia (USA) with American IPs (identification codes), it has observed a sharp increase in North American customers as a result of the geolocation of Americans IP addresses by Google and Microsoft's Bing.
Artprice sees this transfer as the right strategy to adopt since Europe, and France in particular, has been consistently campaigning for the breakup of Google, whereas Artprice, since December 2003, has been working with Google Inc. in perfect contractual harmony.
It lays the technical and legal foundations for the future of Artprice and consequently for the future of its US subsidiary Artmarket.com and its IPO project.
At the end of November 2014, Artprice also confirmed its successful completion of a parallel operation transferring route servers to a major secure datacenter in Frankfurt am Main (Land Hesseen) in Germany with German IP addresses. This move will enable Artprice to conduct an aggressive marketing strategy in the German-speaking area where there are still pockets of market share partially owned by local players.
With its new websites launched on November 18, 2014, in six languages (English, French, Chinese, German, Italian and Spanish) and its new web and "mobile first" version giving access to all its databases, Artprice has observed a 37% increase in traffic (different visitors, TMC, analysis of behavior logs, etc.) albeit over a very short comparison period. Nevertheless, the outlook for 2015 already looks very positive.
Remember that Artprice has implemented a “100% mobile strategy” giving users easy access to the data they need, whatever their device (smartphone, phablet, tablet) or their operating system (roughly 7,000 different versions in total). People wishing to access Artprice data no longer need to download an “App”, often perceived as off-putting.
According to Artprice's CEO and Founder, Thierry Ehrmann, the entire family of new websites has been designed so that clients get access to an optimized version of Artprice, with highly intuitive ergonomics.
For its databases and its Standardized Marketplace, Artprice has created a Responsive Web Design (RWD) website that combines different principles and technologies (CSS3 and HTML5 among others). The objective of RWD is to offer clients the most fluid browsing experience, with easy reading and navigation.
With RWD, users can consult Artprice from any device (P.C., smartphone, phablet, tablet, TV, etc ...) with the same level of visual comfort, and, on tactile devices, without the need for tiresome horizontal/vertical scrolling or in/out zooming.
For Artprice, "mobile first" is an approach that involves creating ergonomic and intuitive interfaces on mobile devices before designing the desktop architecture, the traditional first step in Internet history. With this approach, Artprice's aim is to substantially enhance its clients' experience.
Today, the commercial domination of mobile Internet (3.1 billion people connected worldwide) is good news for Artprice since its clientele is essentially nomadic, wealthy and wants information while “on the move” (at galleries, auction rooms, appraisers, etc.).
By 2015/2016, mobile Internet will account for roughly 90% of Artprice consultations. Already in November 2014 this figure was nearly 74% (iOS, Android, Windows Phone). This is much higher than the 38% average posted by commercial websites for the first half of 2014.
Of course, in addition to the 3.1 billion mobile Internet connections, there are also 2.7 billion desktop connections (many of which overlap with the mobile Internet usage).
Artprice considers this new mobile Internet economic paradigm to be irreversible.
Finally, since December 18, 2014, Artprice has successfully completed the transfer of route servers to Singapore with Chinese IP identification codes (zh).
This move will allow Artprice to gain access to the heart of the Chinese Intranet (dubbed The Great Firewall in China and under the control of state authorities) and to develop closer ties with its key partners such as Artron and with the national search engines and portals (Baidu, Sina, Sogou, Qihoo 360, Sohu, Acoona ...). Artprice has no less than 27 million pages online in Mandarin.
Internet's new Silver Surfers …the heart of Artprice's future market.
The Internet is attracting a whole new generation of “silver surfers” (the over-50s…) with substantial purchasing power who enjoy and consume art and are already Artprice's primary user category. Going forward, the Internet will be their preferential method for finding art worldwide using tablets and phablets that fit perfectly with their “senior” lifestyles. For this generation, the Personal Computer represented a psychological barrier to Internet access, and hence to Artprice.
Recent data show that the 50+ upper socio-professional category connects more to mobile Internet than any other social category or age group. Artprice is therefore perfectly positioned to benefit from this exogenous trend.
Artprice is in the process of making the industrial processes at the heart of its Art Market standardization available over the Internet. All these processes (in the form of 630 million proprietary Freemium mode data) i.e. its artist ID/biography, its artwork ID /traceability, its catalogue raisonné ID, its estimates/econometrics ID, its price index ID, its picture ID, its bibliography ID, etc. are protected under intellectual property rights in the US, Europe and Greater Asia. Over 2015/2016, the rendition of this mass of art market data will involve access to decrypted databases and to all works (from 1700 to the present day) and their art market traceability. It will also generate a further acceleration to the strong growth of our client base.
By developing open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) under REST architecture, Artprice can consolidate its global leader position in a fair and aboveboard manner.
This type of digital economy – currently enjoying rapid global growth – is called "freemium". Freemium is a model in which the bulk is free, but the real added value is charged. Artprice draws the line between free and paid data very carefully, retaining roughly 15% of the data that contains the real added value as paid data. This system also endorses the reliability of the 85% that is free.
Artprice's databanks of standardized art market information are enriched every day and are the fruit of dozens of acquisitions by Artprice worldwide and more than a million hours of work by our historians, editors and developers, covering the period from 1700 (birth of the Art Market) to today (for full details and history, please refer to Artprice's 2013 AMF reference document dated July 17, 2014). Artprice's databanks, in 6 languages including Mandarin, are indisputably recognized by all art professionals as the most comprehensive art market databanks in the world.
Atprice is the global leader in art price and art index databanks. It has over 30 million indices and auction results covering more than 570,000 artists around the world. Artprice Images(R) gives unlimited access to the largest Art Market resource in the world: a library of 108 million images or prints of artworks from the year 1700 to the present day, along with comments by Artprice's art historians.
Artprice permanently enriches its databanks with information from 4,500 auctioneers and it publishes a constant flow of art market trends for the world's principal news agencies and approximately 7,200 international press publications. For its 3,600,000 members (members log in), Artprice gives access to ads posted by members. This space represents the world's leading Standardised Marketplace® for buying and selling art. These sales take place under two systems: either fixed price sales or auction-sales (regulated by paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article L 321.3 of the French Code of Commerce).
Artprice is listed on the Euronext Paris SRD L.O. (Euroclear: 7478 - Bloomberg: PRC - Reuters: ARTF)
The 2013/2014 Contemporary Art Market Report is now online: http://imgpublic.artprice.com/pdf/artprice-contemporary-2013-2014-en.pdf
Discover the Alchemy and the universe of Artprice http://web.artprice.com/video, which headquarters are the famous Museum of Contemporary Art, the Abode of Chaos http://goo.gl/zJssd
Contact : Josette Mey : e-mail : email@example.com